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Belmont Middle School's Destination Imagination team headed for nationals

BELMONT — For the five students who won the pandemonium challenge for the New Hampshire Destination Imagination competition, it doesn't get any better than going to Knoxville, Tenn. to compete in the global challenge.

The five — Kelly Hayes, H. Lavallee, Ian Cluett, Alexus Day, and Katherine Seiberth — Belmont Middle School students will leave with two adult chaperones for a three-day competition.

When asked what the lessons the five have learned from participating in Destination Imagination — all of them said "Teamwork."

"Sometimes we don't even have to talk to each other, we have silent cues," said H., noting the team has been together since the beginning of the year.

Destination Imagination is a public-private partnership that teaches students critical thinking, problem solving and creativity. It uses a variety of teaching tools, science, math, technology and acting to encourage a team to work as one and solve a problem.

In the pandemonium challenge, the five must act out a skit using a character from the past, a character from the present, and an in-costume character to solve a problem that is thrown at them by the judges.

For example, the team said for the state final the team had a doll, a carpenter from the past and a meteorologist from the present. Their challenge was a flooded basement and how they could address it.

"All three set characters have to work together to solve the pandemonium," said H., adding they bring the other two competitors in as needed when they decide their roles.

Although they are going down as a team to compete in a contest, the trip means other things to these eighth graders.

It's the first time most of them have been away from home without their families, although two of the students have parents accompanying them as chaperones.

None of them have ever been on a coach-type bus and a few of them have never been out of New Hampshire.
Team coach and School Board Chair Heidi Hutchinson said the team and the parents will also have some time to spend in Knoxville as well a visit some of the nearby sites.


CUTLINE: (in your in box) The Shaker Regional School District Destination Imagination Team and its coaches finished first in New Hampshire and are on their way to Knoxville, Tennessee to compete in the Global Competition. In the back row from left to right are coach Rick Glatz, Kelly Hayes, H. Lavallee, and coach Heidi Hutchinson. In the front row from left to right are Alexus Day, Katherine Seiberth, and Ian Cluett. (Courtesy photo)

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 May 2014 12:48

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Day care center owner's boyfriend charged with sex crimes

GILMANTON — The boyfriend of a former daycare center owner has been indicted by a Belknap County grand jury for allegedly asking a young girl to touch his penis.

Robert Woodbury, 58, of Route 106 is charged with one count of solicitation felonious sexual assault and one count of misdemeanor indecent exposure that occurred between June of 2010 and August of 2011 at the former Cozy Cottage Daycare.

Woodbury was arraigned last week in the Belknap County Superior Court. He is free on $50,000 personal recognizance bail, ordered to have no contact with the victim or her family, and to have no contact with minors under 16.

Chief Joe Collins said the incident was reported to his department in October of 2013 and he launched an investigation that lasted about four months. Collins said the daycare center has been closed for about a year.

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 May 2014 12:16

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Belmont taking closer took at Ladd Hill Rd. bids

BELMONT — Selectmen recently decided to re-evaluate the four bids received for the construction project on lower Ladd Hill before awarding the contract.

The four bids ranged from $463,616 from GW Brooks & Sons Inc. of Freedom, N.H. to $593,645 from Northeast Earth Mechanics of Pittsfield. Lyman Corporation of Gilford came in at $509,215 and Busby Construction of Atkinson bid $518,985.

All of the above bids include the alternative of redoing Marilyn Drive, which appears to cost about $28,000 depending on the bids.

Some of the selectmen wanted more information about GW Brooks & Son Inc., the apparent low bidder by $130,000.

Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said Underwood Engineers told her that GW Brooks was a smaller company than the other three, but in their estimation capable of reconstructing the road to the specifications required.

The engineers recommended awarding the bid to GW Brooks, saying the town may want to monitor traffic control and pavement grades and avoid cold joints or the interface between new asphalt and old asphalt.

They are bonded by Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America and are in good standing.

The project is expected to be completed this summer and will rebuild lower Ladd Hill and fix the drainage problems on to Route 3.

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 May 2014 12:11

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Including treatment of substance abuse issues in health insurance called a key at Shaheen-led meeting in Franklin

FRANKLIN — Accompanied by Michael Botticelli, acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen hosted the third in a series of roundtable discussions aimed at addressing the rapidly rising incidence of drug abuse in New Hampshire at Franklin Regional Hospital yesterday.

Appropriately enough, the event was held in the room where the Franklin Mayor's Drug Task meets. Mayor Ken Merrifield welcomed the more than two dozen participants, including law enforcement officials, treatment providers, educators and civic leaders, by recalling what he called "my flashbulb moment," when a single mother of 27 with whom he was close "died of a heroin overdose in this hospital" shortly before his inauguration. Soon afterwards the task force was formed and the city was awarded a Drug Free Community (DFC) grant.

"This is the thing that will make me most proud," Merrifield said.

Remarking on the increase in drug abuse, Shaheen, who served three terms as governor from 1996 to 2002, noted "when I was governor this wasn't happening, but we've seen communities across our state struggle to address growing substance abuse problems." In particular, she called attention to the "epidemic" of heroin use, which Sergeant Christopher Scott, commander of the intelligence unit of the state police, described as "immense."

According to data issued by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services in February, the number deaths associated with heroin alone reported by hospitals jumped more than threefold between 2010 and 2013. There were 14 deaths in 2010, 41 in 2011, 38 in 2012 and 45 last year. During the same period the number of those suffering from effects of heroin who visited emergency rooms climbed from 14 in 2010 to 104.

Deirdre Boulter, an analyst with the State Police, said that from 2004 to 2013 the number of admissions to state-funded treatment programs for heroin addiction has risen from 804 to 1,540, with the steepest increase occurring in the last two years when the numbers climbed more than 70 percent.

Tym Rourke, who oversees substance abuse programs at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, pointed out that before the rise in heroin use the abuse of prescription medications commanded the attention of law enforcement officials and substance abuse counselors. He explained that a number of steps were taken to stanch the flow of prescription medications to the street, which by decreasing their supply and increasing their price fostered the market for a more plentiful and less expensive alternative — heroin.

Boulter pointed out that prescription medications were the original drug of choice for four-fifths of heroin users in recent years.

When Shaheen remarked that the incidence of substance abuse in New Hampshire exceeds the national average, Rourke was quick to point out that only one state has less capacity to treat addiction. While the decision to expand Medicaid will provide some 7,000 people with a substance abuse benefit, he said that the resources are not available to treat them. "There is real pressure to expand capacity," he said.

Botticelli said that while he does not anticipate federal funding for controlling and treating substance abuse to increase, the expansion of health insurance with the substance abuse benefit will defray a share of the cost of treatment, enable more of the federal block grant to be applied to prevention, education and enforcement.

Emphasizing the significance of the federal funds, Rourke told Botticelli "we'd be lost with it."

Shaheen said that nothing less than a "multi-faceted" program, consisting of enforcement, education, prevention and treatment and, like the Franklin Mayor's Drug Task Force, engaging a broad cross-section of the community, required to curb the heroin epidemic.

CAPTION: Franklin Mayor Ken Merrifield (center) and State Senator Andrew Hosmer (left) welcomed Michael Botticelli (right), Acting Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, to Franklin yesterday, where U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen held a roundtable on combatting substance abuse. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo/Michael Kitch)

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 May 2014 12:07

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